Empowering Through Information and the Fostering of Connections
Love. Acceptance. Intervention. Civil Rights. July 23, 2019

In This Issue

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Majority of autism risk resides in genes, multinational study suggests

The Neurodiversity Movement Should Acknowledge Autism as a Medical Disability

Study finds children with autism more likely to be bullied at home and at school

Treating suspected autism at 12 months of age improves children's language skills

Walking on Eggshells, a Severe Autism Perspective

Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

RDI and MORE at Therapeutic Approach to Growth


FREE! Back to School Parent Training This Saturday!

PACT Summer/Fall Teen Theatre

Sports for Exceptional Athletes Golf Classic

TERI News!!!

NFAR's Teacher's Awards grant application period is OPEN!

The Beginners' Guild to Special Needs Planning in Chula Vista

You're Invited! FREE All Inclusive Day of Play & Resource Fair!

CONNECTIONS Monday Classes

Costume & Dance Party in Poway!

Yoga in the Park Day for Adults with Autism

Navigating the Legal System for Adults with Autism

Lunch and Learn with TAG in Temecula!!


Please Share This Newsletter and Facebook Page!!!

ValeriesList is a FREE resource newsletter and Facebook Page for San Diego County and has been for over 19 years, with a weekly reach of 50,000! No fees, donation or membership are required to receive this info. An informed public makes better decisions for its' persons with Special Needs. Please share with friends, family, fellow professionals and clients!!! Click here to check out my FB page! Thank YOU!

  • Majority of autism risk resides in genes, multinational study suggests
  • About 81 percent of autism risk comes from inherited genetic factors, according to an analysis of more than 2 million children from five countries, published today in JAMA Psychiatry.

    The study is the largest yet to estimate the heritability of autism risk in a multinational population. The findings are consistent with results from a large 2017 study of twin and non-twin sibling pairs in Sweden that suggested about 83 percent of autism risk is inherited2. A third study - also in Sweden and also in twins - reported in 2010 that these factors contribute to about 80 percent of autism risk.

    The new study improves upon the previous work by analyzing multiple generations of families from several countries. Read on...

  • The Neurodiversity Movement Should Acknowledge Autism as a Medical Disability
  • The autism researcher Simon Baron-Cohen published an article, "The Concept of Neurodiversity Is Dividing the Autism Community," where he defends the neurodiversity perspective. There are several specific arguments in his article, but overall, he views autism as a biological difference, not a disability.

    Aiyana Bailin, a disability rights advocate, wrote a response titled "Clearing Up Some Misconceptions about Neurodiversity," where she claims that while she supports neurodiversity, she believes that autism is best understood through the social model of disability. This means that the negative aspects of autism are caused by a lack of external accommodations, such as in improper work environments. Read on...

  • Study finds children with autism more likely to be bullied at home and at school
  • A major new study has found children with autism are more likely to be bullied by both their siblings and their peers, meaning that when they return from school, they have no respite from victimisation.

    The researchers also found that children with Autism are more likely to be both the victims and perpetrators of sibling bullying compared to those without Autism.

    The study used data from The Millennium Cohort Study to investigate sibling bullying in a sample of over 8,000 children, more than 231 of which had autism.

    The children were asked questions about how often they were picked on or hurt on purpose by their siblings and peers and how often they were the perpetrators of such acts. Read on...

  • Treating suspected autism at 12 months of age improves children's language skills
  • Therapies given to infants before they receive a diagnosis of autism may lead to important improvements in their language abilities, according to our new research published today in the journal Lancet Child and Adolescent Health.

    Children with autism typically begin therapy after receiving a diagnosis, which usually doesn't occur until at least two years of age.

    However, our new study suggests that starting therapy with 12-month-old infants who show early behavioural signs of autism may provide additional benefit.

    Parents of toddlers who received six months of early therapy reported that their child understood an average of 37 more words, and spoke an average of 15 more words, than those who didn't receive the therapy. Read on...

  • Walking on Eggshells, a Severe Autism Perspective
  • Everyone has used the term, "walking on eggshells." Looking back, I used it for trivial things. Here is what it means now.

    Everyone has heard and used the term "walk on eggshells." I think back and chuckle at what I used that term for before dealing with a child having severe aggression and self injurious behaviors.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not making light of others that use this term but just reflecting on my thoughts and perspectives since facing, quite frankly, living nightmares. I might have used that term for someone having a bad day at work, a spat with his spouse, or even said this after someone's favorite sports team lost a big game. Looking back, it was used when describing mostly trivial things. Here is what I use the term for now.

    To be walking on eggshells now is trying to redirect my son constantly to keep him from even seeing any type of electronic devices; these will trigger an outburst when we take him on a trip away from his residential home.

    Walking on eggshells now means second guessing myself ten times before offering Josh candy because if I offer the wrong kind, wrong amount, wrong flavor or if his youngest sister gets a piece before him. Then this leads to a major outburst. Read on...

  • Family and Others Looking for Help!!!

  • Do you receive SSI? Don't miss out on food benefits!
    Beginning June 2019, many Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients will become eligible for CalFresh Food Benefits.

    There is NO CHANGE or reduction to SSI/SSP amounts. For more information Click, Call or Come in to your county office to apply and find out more.

    Click to apply online
    Call 1-877-847-3663 (FOOD)
    Come in/find an office at

    Do you type to communicate? Do you use AAC, RPM, FC, supportive typing? Are you looking to meet up with like minded individuals who use a keyboard to tell jokes and give speeches?

    We are forming a social group, that meets monthly in Point Loma, of typers and their communication partners, just for fun, imagine that. No copays and our only goal is having a good time.

    If you are interested please email me
    See you soon,
    Otto Lana

    Key to Behavior is always looking for excellent candidates to join our team. If you are committed to helping children and families reach their goals and making lasting change in the lives of children with disabilities, Key to Behavior is the place for you. Send us a message to set up an interview:

    If you have a question or request for this newsletter group, please send your email request to People who can help you will email you directly with their responses.

  • RDI and MORE at Therapeutic Approach to Growth
  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth believes that every individual is unique and has the potential for significant growth. We assume and foster competence while honoring family values and priorities. Our holistic approach is built upon trusting, supportive relationships and collaboration between disciplines and families.

    We specializing in the development and implementation of individualized comprehensive programs utilizing Relationship Development Intervention (RDI), Occupational Therapy, Sensory Integration, Sensory Processing, Applied Behavior Analysis, Art Therapy, and Life Balance Yoga Therapy.

    Offering support in the San Diego, Carlsbad, Orange County, and the Inland Empire.

    In addition to supporting our clients directly, we offer guidance to parents, grandparents, therapists, teachers, siblings, school staff, babysitters etc.

    Therapeutic Approach to Growth
    (858) 689-2027

  • UCSD ACE - SPARK Event
  • The UC San Diego Autism Center of Excellence (ACE) is hosting a series of live-registration events at the Balboa Park Carousel to sign up families who have a child diagnosed with ASD for SPARK. SPARK is committed to transforming our understanding of autism and helping improve the lives of individuals affected by autism and their families. Nearly 18,000 families nationwide are already participating in SPARK! There is no cost to participate. Simply complete a 20-30 minute registration process, provide some saliva, and enjoy the event!

    Visit to learn more about and sign up for the event. Please feel free to contact us with any questions! Email: | Phone: (858) 534-6906.

  • FREE! Back to School Parent Training This Saturday!
  • Back to School Parent Training this Saturday at Scripps Miramar Ranch Library! If you would like to join us please RSVP to or call 858-430-8166. It's free to attend and there will be refreshments. Split into a two part series, we'll discuss the law in relation to heading back to school and ways to approach the new school year for success.

  • PACT Summer/Fall Teen Theatre
  • Positive Action Community Theatre (PACT) is a dynamic non-profit organization that offers improvisational theatre and performing arts workshops that teach life and social skills.

    For registration and more info please contact 760-815-8512 or email

  • Sports for Exceptional Athletes Golf Classic
  • Wednesday, August 7, 2019 at Riverwalk Golf Club
    1150 Fashion Valley Road, San Diego, CA 92108
    11am to 6:30pm

    The S4EA Golf Classic brings together golf enthusiasts, business elite, and community leaders, all teaming up to support SPORTS for Exceptional Athletes in their mission to create enhanced opportunities for people with and without disabilities to interact and form lasting bonds of friendship through shared sports and recreational activities in their community.

    • BANQUET & AWARDS CEREMONY: Enjoy the "San Diegan Buffet" which includes Merlot Mushroom Tri-Tip Steak, Sun Dried Tomato Marinated Chicken and several delicious sides and dessert.
    • HELICOPTER BALL DROP CONTEST: Happening live after golf. Donate for your chance to win $1000 CASH! You do not need to be present to win, so we hope friends and family from all over the world will consider participating.
    Click here for all the info about the golf classic and to purchase your tickets!!!

    Click here for info about Sports for Exceptional Athletes!!!

  • TERI News!!!
  • Summer's here! It's time for you to take a short break, relax in an easy chair, have a cool drink, and click here to enjoy the July TERI TAKE Newsletter.

  • NFAR's Teacher's Awards grant application period is OPEN!
  • Completed applications are due on September 30th.

    Open to Classroom Teachers, Speech & Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Resource and Autism specialists, serving students with autism and related disorders, this funding is designed to support the specialized academic needs of their students with autism. Funding averages $500 per award.

    To date, NFAR has awarded over 700 Teachers Grants, benefiting thousands of students with autism.
    To learn more/apply!!!

  • The Beginners' Guild to Special Needs Planning in Chula Vista
  • RSVP to Rebekah Gomez at 619-829-6114 or

  • You're Invited! FREE All Inclusive Day of Play & Resource Fair!
  • The Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego and San Diego Family Magazine are hosting the 2nd annual All Inclusive Day of Play & Resource Fair!

    On Wednesday, August 7 from 10 am to 1 pm at the Miramar Hourglass Recreation Center, 10440 Black Mountain Road, SD, 92126, families from around the county are invited to celebrate the last days of summer and gather information from resource providers for families with all abilities. Your family is invited to this FREE summer event!

    Activity Booths * Giveaways * Performances * Games * Family Resources * Networking & more!

    Children of all abilities will enjoy activity stations including Woody's Roundup Corral, Super Hero City, Wheelchair Awareness Course, Literacy Duck Pond, V.T. Raceway, Star Wars Space Station and more!

    Plus, enjoy a variety of entertaining performances at the All Abilities Stage.

    Over 40 resource services and providers for children of all abilities will conveniently be onsite to speak with parents and provide information.

    All activities and resources are FREE and open to the public.

    Sign up for your family's FREE tickets on eventbrite now!

  • CONNECTIONS Monday Classes
  • connections

    Our next set of classes for CONNECTIONS, which is designed for teens on the Autism Spectrum, begins on Monday, July 29th, from 4:30-6:00 pm.

    We currently have just two spots left in the class, which runs for six weeks and then repeats throughout the year. It's an amazing program, which teaches social skills to teens with ASD using improv theatre.

    For more information, check out:

  • Costume & Dance Party in Poway!
  • Sunday, July 28, 2019 at 4 PM - 6 PM
    Kaminski's Sport Lounge and BBQ
    12735 Poway Rd, Poway, California 92064
    Cost: $5

    We are having our Costume Dance party this month - please dress up and bring $5 for all you can drink soda and a snack. Our social events are for adults with developmental disabilities, ages 18+ up. Those interested can RSVP to me at Can't wait to see you there!

  • Yoga in the Park Day for Adults with Autism
  • Sat, July 27, 2019
    10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
    Princess Del Cerro Park
    6195 Wenrich Drive
    San Diego, CA 92120

    The SDSU Center for Autism is hosting a Yoga in the Park event for Adults with Autism (18 yrs or older). This sensory friendly outdoor event will take place at the beautiful Princess Del Cerro Park from 10-11:30 am on July 27th. Our partner, Nazdira Cuevas, will teach modified poses and breathing tools to regulate and reduce anxiety. She will help attendees create a mind/body connection and focus on the present. There will be guided visualizations at the end.

    Please remember to bring a yoga mat or blanket and PLEASE BRING WATER. If an attendee needs a care taker, we encourage the caretaker to participate in the yoga class! Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • Navigating the Legal System for Adults with Autism
  • Wed, July 31, 2019
    6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
    SDSU Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders
    6363 Alvarado Court, #250
    San Diego, CA 92120

    The SDSU Center for Autism will be hosting a series of talks looking to help the autism community, their families, and allies navigate the complex legal system. We know it can be a daunting task so we are partnering with legal experts to help answer your questions. This second talk will cover navigating the rules for adults with autism. This workshop will help families understand and prepare for when their teens/young adults with autism become adults. This introductory talk can help families know what legal considerations they have to start preparing for and help them ask the right questions.

    Jorgensen Law is a Social Security Disability Law Firm specializing in SSDI (social security disability insurance) and SSI (supplemental security insurance). They can assist with applications, appeals, hearings, questions on what qualifies, what the financial limitations are and advise on how to make sure you are maximizing your benefits.

    This is a FREE event! Click here for all the info and to register!!!

  • Lunch and Learn with TAG in Temecula!!
  • Every fourth Friday!!! RSVP required!!! Please contact Emily at or call 858-689-2027.

  • ASD Mornings at the NAT
  • The San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat) is pleased to offer a program for the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) community: a once-a-month ASD Morning in which the Museum opens early for adults and children on the autism spectrum and their families, friends, and caregivers. This innovative program encourages individuals to explore, play, and discover the treasures The Nat has to offer in an environment that is comfortable for them.

    ASD Mornings take place the second Sunday of every month. The Museum will open at 9 AM*, one hour earlier than its standard 10 AM opening time, providing a quiet and less-crowded environment for visitors to explore the Museum's galleries at their own pace. In addition, on ASD Mornings the Museum will offer a "quiet room" from 9 AM to noon if visitors need a quiet space to decompress or desensitize. General admission rates apply during ASD Mornings.

  • Autism Accessibility Morning at the Fleet!

  • The third Saturday of every month, Fleet invites the Autism Spectrum Community to enjoy our museum through this special opportunity. Adults and families with children with autism can enjoy the Fleet's exhibit galleries in a quieter setting, an hour before regular open hours to the general public and with access to a special cool-off space. Visitors are welcome to stay and enjoy the museum all day. Admission includes a special IMAX film screening at 10 a.m. with the house lights on and a lower soundtrack volume.

    For more information, visit

  • Everyone Deserves a Loving Home

  • Contact Lynn Scott for more information 619-954-7847 or

  • Learn About RDI in San Diego!
  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth
    9466 Black Mountain Road
    Suite 100
    San Diego, CA 92126
    Phone: (858) 689-2027

  • Learn About RDI in Carlsbad!
  • Therapeutic Approach to Growth
    5411 Avenida Encinas
    Suite 110
    Carlsbad, CA 92008
    Phone: (760) 448-5837

  • Toddler MRI Study at SDSU

  • Our Center's research arm, the Brain Development Imaging Labs, is conducting a fascinating study looking at how young children's brains change as they get older. We are looking for kids (15 months to 5 years old) who are on the spectrum or who are suspected to have autism. Participants get a free assessment (plus assessment summary), free MRI scan, $150, AND a free picture of their brain! For more info or to sign up, please call us at 619-594-2500 or email us at Thank you!

  • Participate in SPARK at UCSD

  • UC San Diego's Autism Center of Excellence is seeking individuals diagnosed with ASD and their biological family members to participate in SPARK, the largest national genetics research project in US history! The SPARK study aims to gain a better understanding of the causes and potential treatments of autism by building a cohort of 50,000 diagnosed individuals to facilitate research on an unprecedented scale. There is NO cost to participate in the study and it can even be completed without leaving the house!

    What we do
    SPARK researchers extract genetic data through a saliva sample and analyze information collected from thousands of people with autism and their biological parents. UCSD and over 20 of the nation's leading medical schools are part of this effort.

    How to join*
    1. Sign up online at -- registration typically takes about 20 minutes. Using this link connects you to our site, which enables us to better follow up with you if you encounter any issues or have specific questions.
    2. Complete a few questionnaires online.
    3. Provide a saliva sample. A saliva collection kit will be sent directly to your home after registration. When you are done, simply mail it back in the prepaid mailer.

    Benefits of joining
    1. Individuals with autism will receive gift cards valued at up to a total of $50 for participation.
    2. SPARK hosts monthly webinars, featuring psychologists, researchers, or speakers from the autism community, that provide useful information for families and individuals with autism.
    3. If a genetic finding is discovered related to the cause of autism, results will be shared back with families.
    4. The information you provide may help others with ASD for generations to come!

    *Our site also offers the option for home appointments where a member of our SPARK team can come to your home and assist you in the registration process, collect the saliva samples, and mail them in for you! This is typically the preferred method for families as everything gets completed at once. Please note that we ask that both biological parents and individual diagnosed with ASD be present for these appointments. We can accommodate a variety of dates and times outside normal business hours on the weekdays or weekends -- whichever is most convenient for you and your family! Alternatively, we can also schedule in-clinic appointments at our office if that is preferred.

    You can visit our SPARK FAQ page for additional details. Please contact us via email at or via phone at 858-534-6906 if you would like to set up an appointment or if you have any questions!

  • Older Adults with Autism (40-75 yrs old) Needed for Study

  • We are looking for older adults with autism (40-75 yrs old) to be in our brain imaging study! Anyone with a diagnosis or suspects that she or he has autism is invited to reach out to us. Participants receive a free assessment, free MRI brain scan, and around $150! If you know anyone who might be interested in this, please have them email or call us at 619-594-0176. Thank you!

  • SDSU Center for Autism Brain Study Needs Volunteers!

  • The SDSU Center for Autism is conducting a behavioral and brain imaging study with youth (7-21 years old) on the spectrum. We are trying to understand how the brain changes as children become young adults. Participants get a free assessment, a free MRI scan, about $150, and a free picture of their brain! If you are interested, call us at 619-594-0176, or email us at Thank you!


    I never endorse anyone or anything. Opinions expressed in what I send out, may not be shared by me. Everything is for informational purposes only.
    People who "advertise" through this newsletter have never been checked out by me. Same goes for the "Sponsors". This includes professionals and even people who are interested in babysitting, etc. So, please take the time to thoroughly check out anyone and everyone who will be working with or caring for your child/adult. We are all sadly aware, through news stories and word of mouth, of people who prey upon special needs children and adults because of their extra vulnerability.

    Valerie Dodd-Saraf
    President, Foggy Coast Ventures, Inc.